There is about 32+ million amputees in the world today according to the International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics. Around 80 percent of whom live in developing countries and don’t have access to modern prostheses. Also, most prosthetics manufactured today are made from materials that costs over six time the average income of a family living in a developing country. (Source)
There are several new technologies that is only just now beginning to make its way into prosthetics and making it more affordable, customizable and available to people living in areas with limited access to artificial limbs. Among these technologies are 3D printing and 3D scanning.
Traditional prosthetics comes with a range of challenges; the level of complexity, the specialized labor needed to create them, the cost of materials and the follow-up with specialists to make sure that the prosthetic fits correctly and other general maintenance. Also, traditional prosthetics also come looking very “mechanical” only adding to the sense of loss and might have a negative psychological impact and lower self-esteem.
Our proposal is to combine 3D printing technology with the Nike Grind materials to create low cost prosthetics for developing countries. 3D printing has several advantages in this area; it’s low cost, manufacturing is flexible and can be on-demand, new manufacturing sites are easily deployed, it’s scalable. Also, by 3D printing the prosthetic we are able to accomplish aesthetically pleasing designs at a very low cost. As a reference see the amazing work of William Root - https://www.behance.net/gallery/20696469/Exo-Prosthetic-Leg
We will start out by doing a lower leg prosthetic to get started and then expand to doing upper leg prosthetics and other prosthetics as well. Lower body limbs are among the most common amputees at least in the US where they make up almost 90% of the total amputees (Source).
The reason why Nike Grind is suitable for this kind of product is that it already have some of the qualities and features that are needed for creating a prosthetic. This is being explored more in the sections below.
We envision a phased rollout of these low-cost prosthetics that includes prototype+testing, designing, partnership building, on-site manufacturing and distribution. More on the phased roll-out in the “How will you scale the idea” section.